François Aubin began playing piano at age six by listening to his father playing boogie and the blues. At 14 François’ interest slowly shifted to jazz after he began playing piano alongside Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones and Errol Gardner records. Around that time through his friendship with Jean-Marc Boivin and Eric Gravel, François heard Charles Mingus’s Pre-Bird sessions for the first time, which later became a major musical influence.

In 1977-78, the few jazz players in the Saguenay region used to assemble for jam sessions in a club in the basement of the Calèche restaurant in Chicoutimi. The group included bassist Carl Girard, to whom François dedicated CG Blues, and Yannick Rieu, with whom he would play again in Montreal in 1988-1989.

In 1983 François played in Montreal with Skip Bey, who had a profound influence on him, and in 1987 he moved on to study electro-acoustic music composition for two years under Yves Daoust at the Conservatory of Montreal.

In 1988, François founded the Hiroshima Orchestra, which played regularly at Montreal’s Café Central. He wrote, arranged and directed music for the band, which included musicians such as Yannick Rieu, Paul Desgagné, Christopher Smith, André Leroux, Michel Dubeau, Michel Raté, Yvon Thibault, Frederic Alari, Normand Guilbault, Nathalie Picard, Marc Tremblay and Joe Beaudoin.

Following a successful performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1989, François began limiting his playing to gigs with the Michel Dubeau Quartet and the Guy Thouin Heart ensemble, due to his increasingly successful and demanding, business and educational careers.

During his spare time away from music, François pursued scientific studies in physics and completed a Master’s degree in industrial engineering. In 1995, after becoming the CEO of Cognitive Group, he was forced to give up performing music publicly, but he continued playing at home daily.

In 2007, François attended a master class in Toronto’s Distillery District held by Hank Jones, whose wisdom made a profound impact on him not only musically but in other aspects of life as well.


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